Have you ever tried to read a Japanese menu? If there aren't pictures to reference, you'll likely have a difficult time figuring out what to order -- unless you can read Japanese, of course. NTT DoCoMo hopes to improve the dining experience for those of us that can't tell our ウニ (sea urchin) from our カニ (crab), building an app that can translate any of 9,000 possible menu entries from Japanese into English. It also supports English to Japanese translation, along with Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese) and Korean translations as well. The app worked fairly well, occasionally mistaking things like salmon caviar for "a rare part of the pork." OK, so perhaps there's a bit more work to be done. Either way, real-time visual language translation is definitely tricky stuff, and could be enormously helpful to travelers once devs figure out how to make it work -- and work well. Jump past the break to see the app do its thing at CEATEC.
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NTT Docomo Menu Translator hands-on


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NTT DoCoMo menu translator app hands-on (video)